The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX) officially launched the highly anticipated Hong Kong dollar-yuan dual counter model on Monday, marking a landmark progress in the yuan's internationalization and strengthening the city's status as an international financial hub.
The new trading model allows investors to trade securities of the same issuer in either currency and to interchange securities listed in both Hong Kong dollar and yuan counters. Securities under the two counters are of the same class and holdings of securities in the two counters can be transferred without change of beneficial ownership, according to a press released by the HKEX.
On Monday, 24 stocks, including Tencent Holdings, AIA Group, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Alibaba Group Holding, kicked off the new model. It's reported that these companies' combined market capitalization hit HK$12 trillion (US$154 billion), which represents 35 percent of Hong Kong's total share market. Their shares account for 40 percent of total turnover.
The approval for Hong Kong stocks to be traded in the local dollar and yuan "comes at a time of [rising] strategic importance of the renminbi in flows, liquidity and popularity," Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said during a launch ceremony on Monday, the South China Morning Post reported.
Hong Kong will play a pivotal role in this change, and we are keen to grasp the opportunities ahead because Hong Kong has long been the offshore yuan trading hub in terms of liquidity, trade settlement or product variety, Chan said.
HKEX Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Aguzin commented that "the new dual counter model is another key milestone in the development of Hong Kong's capital markets. It will give issuers and investors more choice, it will enrich Hong Kong's yuan products ecosystem, cementing its role as the world's leading offshore yuan hub, and it will support the ongoing internationalization of the yuan."